The Essential Gnostic Gospels
Alan Jacobs


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The Essential Gnostic Gospels: Including The Gospel of Thomas & The Gospel of Mary

In the first centuries of the Common Era, Gnosticism—the principle of experiencing God directly within oneself—was a significant spiritual movement, embraced in many esoteric religions and mystery schools. But although the Gnostics themselves were eary Christians, their beliefs and practices clashed with the orthodoxy of the establishment Church, and after the second century their teachings began to be suppressed and their writings destroyed.

Then in 1945, at Nag Hammadi in the Egyptian desert, a peasant stumbled upon earthen jars holding thirteen papyrus codices that brought those mystical teachings back to light. These Gnostic Gospels—from the Greek ‘gnosis’, or knowledge—offer a radical new wisdom, giving accounts of Jesus and his times that are strikingly different from the stories in the New Testament. They reject the literal interpretation of Christ’s passion and resurrection, they speak of God as male and female at once (‘I am the Father; I am the Mother; I am the Son’), and they show spiritual seekers a path to ‘the place of peace within’.

Alan Jacobs has brought his unrivalled scholarship to bear on these rich resources and chosen the most relevant texts for contemporary readers, addressing age-old questions of good and evil, sin and suffering, and the way to salvation. From the intimate, enigmatic dialogues with the disciples in the Gospel of Thomas to the divine feminine in The Sophia of Jesus Christ and the visionary creation myth of Poimandres, these inspired new translations preserve the essential meanings of the verses and capture their mystery and beauty.

The Essential Gnostic Gospels, Alan Jacobs, Watkins, 2006

Hardback. Octavo. Blue cloth binding. Previous owners name inscribed on the first page, otherwise like new.